Another Mesothelioma Awareness Day approaches and still asbestos is not banned in the United States. Our Congress needs to know this is not acceptable. Perhaps we who are not directly affected get complacent, but the reality is that we are all susceptible to acquiring this disease. Some people work in more dangerous environments than others, yet there are many ways to be exposed. We generally think of the victims as males, over 50. While that is often the case, they are not the only people who acquire the disease.
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) began a RAISE YOUR VOICE | #ENDMeso campaign this year. There are many poignant stories to read on their website; here are four people profiled who don’t fit the usual stereotype:
Terran, a young girl, says, “I’m only 16 and have mesothelioma. Listen to me, please ban asbestos worldwide and find a cure…”
“My nieces mean the world to me. Asbestos needs to be banned so they won’t run the risk of suffering like I did.” Mike Mattmuller, 33 years old, Baltimore, MD
Mavis Nye, 73 years old, London, UK “I love my husband, my life, my family, my friends. . . should they have to go on without me?”
“My son is no longer with us because of deadly asbestos and I am utterly heartbroken.” Sandra, Age 55, Tunnel Hill, GA
The ADAO created this campaign with the hope that these stories will educate about the dangers of asbestos and also show a few of the faces – real people – affected by asbestos-related diseases.
For this 2015 Mesothelioma Awareness Day, let’s look at the Top Ten Asbestos Facts presented by the ADAO this year:
1. The United States and Canada are the last two industrial nations not to ban asbestos.
2. Nearly 40 years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared asbestos to be a human carcinogen.
3. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) state: “Asbestos includes chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite asbestos, anthophyllite asbestos, actinolite asbestos.
4. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates “there are approximately 125 million people in the world who are exposed to asbestos in the workplace.”
5. WHO states, “more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposures.”
6. WHO also states, “one in every three deaths from occupational cancer is estimated to be caused by asbestos. In addition, it is estimated that several thousands of deaths can be attributed annually to exposure to asbestos in the living environment.”
7. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in 2014 “Asbestos consumption in the United States was 400 tons.”
8. USGS in 2014, “The chloralkali industry accounted for an estimated 88% of U.S. consumption.”
9. USGS, “Numerous materials [can] substitute for asbestos in products.”
10. Russia is the leading producer of asbestos worldwide, followed by China, Brazil, and Kazakhstan.
Linda Reinstein, ADAO President and Co-Founder, who watched her husband die from mesothelioma, said, “Mesothelioma Awareness Day is an important reminder for Congress that asbestos is still legal and lethal, but it is also an important example of the power of hope. As we come together as a true global community of survivors and warriors, families and loved ones of victims, and concerned citizens – we are continuing to ensure that our powerful voices are heard. ADAO maintains its urgent call to our leaders for an asbestos ban and Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform to put an end to exposure to asbestos and other deadly chemicals. Together, we can #ENDMeso and all asbestos disease.”
What can we do? Go to this form and tell Congress to “Stand up for AMERICANS and BAN ASBESTOS.”